I vividly remember the day I held Chip in my arms for the first time. It’s the day I became a mom.
It was the Friday before Memorial Day in 2010, and my office let us out early (at noon) as a treat. The entire day I had been e-mailing the Craigslist poster about the three dogs she was rehoming: a white dog (the dad), a brown dog (the mom), and the last puppy of the litter of five. She lived on a farm in Pylesville, Maryland, near the Pennsylvania state line, and it was a 40mi drive from the office. Only forty miles standing between me and what I had been waiting my entire life to have–a puppy of my very own.
The farm is a blur to me, except that it had very humble occupants, and the smell of biscuits and wild chickens hung in the air. The parents were in two large crates when I arrived, and they were barking like mad. But walking around the kitchen was “Puppy,” a little brown puppy who wasn’t the least bit interested in me. I remember thinking his long back made him look like a walking noodle, as it swung to and fro with his gait. Aloof, and a little antisocial, the puppy made me wonder, “Will I have an easier time as a first-time dog owner by picking one of the parents?” It’s only now, after years of watching this habit, that I realized he was looking for food scraps on the kitchen floor.
“Puppy,” as they called him, had received a “haircut” from the 11 year old who became attached to him. From her mother’s tone, I surmised the kid was trying to sabotage the rehoming, and who could blame her? He was adorable, Edward-scissorhands-haircut and all.
All it took was one look into those golden eyes. Hook, line, and sinker. I was in love.
In the search for my perfect puppy, I only had two criteria. First, that it had to be hypoallergenic for Brian’s allergies, and second, that it was preferably a Maltese mix. The Craigslist ad listed stated “brown Maltese” as the description. She took in Chip’s parents when their former owners foreclosed, but no one knew the mom was pregnant. She thought his mom may have been a Papillon mix, but wasn’t sure. She knew Chip’s dad was mostly Maltese, but again, wasn’t 100% sure.
To this day, whenever I walk Chip and Daisy, people fawn over both of them, but their attention lingers on Chip. “What is he?” I am asked. “He’s a Maltese mix.” They seem a little disappointed with the answer, as if I had the answer to the perfect puppy. (Duh, my little chocolate Chip is perfection!). When asked, the veterinarian simply told us, “He’s a terrier.” So, we really didn’t know with 100% certainty what breeds make up his ancestry…until now.
When I was approached by Wisdom Panel® Canine DNA Test to get Chip’s DNA analyzed, I jumped at the opportunity! Of course we want to know which breeds make up his DNA. We also want to know why Chip has a long back and short legs. We lovingly call him our little low rider.
Most people think they can tell the breeds in their dog by simply looking at their physical traits. That’s just not the case, and we can attest to this after receiving Chip’s results. Visual identification (even by professionals) is only accurate about 25% of the time.
Canine DNA tests can also shed light on behavioral traits. Chip goes nuts when he sees small, fast-moving critters. He gets tunnel-vision and nothing in this world will distract him from chasing lizards. And, if I step on a sprinkler head that hasn’t gone back underground on its own due to air pressure? Insanity ensues. He starts pawing and digging at the spot where the air hisses out of the sprinkler as it descends. The Wisdom Panel shed light on all of these behaviors!
Getting the DNA from your pup is painless. You are provided with two swabs (which look like mascara wands) to gently roll along their gums, and also on the inside of their cheek. You have to make sure you do this two hours after they eat, so as not to contaminate the DNA sample with food or treats. After that, you place the wands upright in the original packaging to dry. Then you place the wands back into the plastic sleeve and mail it out. Super easy!
We got the results back via email in about two weeks. We were blown away by the results!
Imagine our surprise to see that Chip not only has Chihuahua in him but he also has some Miniature Dachshund in him! I guess his long back and short legs should have given that away, but since neither he nor his parents have any other dachshund features we didn’t even consider that to be a possibility!
One thing I love about the Wisdom Panel test results is that they list each breed detected and some characteristics to look for in Chip. Here’s what they have for Miniature Dachshund, Chihuahua, and Maltese:
Recognize any of these Dachshund (Miniature Shorthaired) behaviors in Chip?
- Alert, lively and active dogs.
- Enjoy activities that take advantage of its keen sense of smell like earthdog trials and both outdoor and indoor tracking. Many retrieve tennis balls.
- Because of their background as hunting dogs may engage in behaviors such as barking, scratching at the ground or digging and chasing wildlife.
- May be suspicious or fearful of strangers, in some cases
as a way to avoid discomfort from being picked up due to their long-backed body.
Recognize any of these Chihuahua behaviors in Chip?
- Alert, active, and often playful dogs.
- Small size makes it easy for them to live in smaller places such as apartments.
- Responds well to reward-based training using treats or favorite toys.
- May be suspicious of strangers or bark at other dogs when intimidated by their size.
Recognize any of these Maltese behaviors in Chip?
- Intelligent, lively, and playful dogs.
- Maltese can be quick learners doing well with reward-based training using treats or favorite toys.
- Maltese can be energetic, although because of their small size they do well in apartments.
- Can be quite gentle. Can also bark to defend itself from strangers or other animals.
Chip is definitely a tender, gentle, and sensitive soul. On the other hand, whenever we take him to the dog park, he definitely barks and lets everyone know who’s the mayor of the park :) He gets these traits from the Maltese breed.
Chip paws at the ground and nips at anything that drags across the ground (watch out for your feet!). He loves chasing lizards and other bugs. He definitely gets that from the Dachshund. People love picking up Chip, much to his chagrin, and I can tell his ribs and back hurt when people don’t pick him up while supporting his back. My poor little wiener dog! :)
Wisdom Panel tests cover 250+ breeds, uses more than 1800 markers and draws from a 12,000+ breed sample database, including 99% of those recognized by the American Kennel Club, and provides ancestry information back to the great-grandparent level. From his ancestral tree above, I can see that Chip’s dad was a mix of Maltese and Chihuahua. There is so much more information in our Wisdom Panel results and all of it does accurately describe Chip.
When you know what breeds are in your dog, you know how to make them happier and healthier. One thing of concern in mutts is the possibility of having drug sensitivities due to a mutation of the MDR1 gene. You see this mostly in collies and other herding dogs, but with Chip’s mixed ancestry, knowing if he had this mutation could be life-saving. Wisdom Panel’s analysis includes the MDR1 screening. Thankfully, the test revealed that Chip does not have this gene mutation, so on our next visit, I will let our vet know. That way, his health records can be updated, and in the event that he needs life-saving medication, the veterinary team doesn’t won’t need to waste precious minutes testing for drug sensitivities.
I am so happy to finally know exactly what breeds are in Chip, and why he has the quirks that he does. The Wisdom Panel canine DNA test is definitely something every dog owner should consider purchasing, if not for health reasons…for fun! We so enjoyed reading the test results, and it makes us appreciate our one-of-a-kind puppy that much more!
ONE lucky reader can save $15 on the Wisdom Panel DNA test using this promo code: FFT107944LI.
They say that mutts are the best dogs. What do you think?